Commentary: Teacher-funded union backs groups pushing social agenda

2014-06-20T05:45:00Z Commentary: Teacher-funded union backs groups pushing social agendaBy CHANTAL LOVELL Elko Daily Free Press
June 20, 2014 5:45 am  • 

Nevada teachers’ hard-earned money is funding a lot more than the Nevada State Education Association.

With each paycheck, teachers across the state contribute to the state teacher union through their individual membership dues, which amount to hundreds of dollars per year, per teacher— more than $770 per year for teachers in Clark County.

What many teachers may not know is that their dues are going to support much more than the union’s operating costs.

Teachers’ monetary contributions are regularly used to further political and social agendas that may conflict with the personal views and convictions of individual members.

For example, pro-life teachers and those who support traditional marriage may be interested in knowing that, with each payment of dues to the NSEA, they are indirectly funding organizations that support abortion and same-sex marriage. From Jan. 1 to May 16, 2014, the Nevada State Education Association gave a combined $100,000 to these liberal causes through payments to ProgressNow Nevada and the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN).

The union gave the money to PLAN and Progress Now via The Education Initiative Political Action Committee, an organization formed to advocate on behalf of the margin tax, which will go before voters this November. In the first four-and-a-half months of this year, The National Education Association and the Nevada State Education Association were the only contributors to the PAC, donating a combined $235,000. Since 2012, the unions have donated over $1.9 million to the passage of the margin tax.

Using the teacher unions’ contributions, The Education Initiative Political Action Committee paid $50,000 each to ProgressNow Nevada and PLAN, according to contribution and expense reports filed with the Secretary of State. The payments were filed under the “Expenses related to consultants” category.

ProgressNow Nevada lists its support for same-sex marriage on its website, where it invites people to sign a petition to establish same-sex marriage in Nevada. The Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada boasts on its website of its role in helping to further pro-LGBT policies. Among PLAN’s member organizations are the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network of Southern Nevada and the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada.

While liberal and libertarian teachers may not object to helping fund those initiatives, Christian and socially conservative teachers very well may.

PLAN’s member organizations include some with pro-abortion agendas, including but not limited to the Nevada Advocates for Planned Parenthood Affiliates; Planned Parenthood, Mar Monte; and Planned Parenthood, Rocky Mountain.

Progress Now Nevada — headed by the former public affairs manager of Planned Parenthood of Southern Nevada — is also a PLAN member organization. Both organizations earlier this year co-hosted a movie screening with Nevada Advocates for Planned Parenthood.

The NSEA teacher union’s financial support for controversial, divisive issues may rightly cause members who hold opposing positions to pause before retaining membership in the organization. Members who fundamentally oppose the NSEA’s social agenda — or its other unpopular political positions — or wish to drop membership for any reason, may do so by notifying the union (and sometimes their school district) in writing between July 1 and July 15 of their decision to leave.

Despite billing itself as “the voice for education in the Silver State,” the Nevada State Education Association makes hefty political contributions that reveal its bosses see their mission as much broader.

They boast about the union’s political activity, but that activity clearly stretches far beyond matters of education.


Chantal Lovell is the deputy communications director at the Nevada Policy Research Institute. For more, visit

Copyright 2016 Elko Daily Free Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(5) Comments

  1. Freddie
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    Freddie - June 24, 2014 6:19 am
    Note how teacher here hits all the education lobby talking points: criticizing the union is the same as criticizing teachers, more money will solve our education problems, don't look to educators to change anything because we're doing just fine, I'm not part of union excesses but I am a hero (as are all teachers) who wants nothing for myself (cue the waving American flag). Nevada education is a disaster and you AND your union are the reason.
  2. Fola
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    Fola - June 21, 2014 5:09 pm
    What agenda? NPRI is a Libertarian outfit pushing to get the unions and THEIR agenda out of our classrooms. Reforming those unions is not an option. They were long ago completely captured by the Left. They have no interest in reforming - they are exactly where they want to be. As too the idea that education is not in need of reform other than more money, you may not pay dues but that makes you pretty much indistinguishable from the union.
  3. Vegasteacher33
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    Vegasteacher33 - June 21, 2014 8:55 am
    What??!!?? How does their agenda and funding to these issues help education? This makes no sense. How about use the money to help improve the quality of teachers in Nevada? As a teacher in a CCSD school, I strongly feel that if the union was reformed versus education as a whole, we would see great improvements. I am NOT part of the union. I do not need to be, as I work extremely hard every day for the benefit of my students.
  4. Dudeboy
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    Dudeboy - June 21, 2014 5:50 am
    The facts here are well known. The solution for teachers who don't support the hyper-progressive agenda of the NSEA is also well known. Quit the union. Nothing in the law in this State requires anyone to belong to secure or keep a teaching job. The NSEA and their legislative backers have unsurprisingly made this as difficult as possible by legal maneuvering to limit teachers opportunity to quit to a one week window in July. That's coming up soon though so get ready. Save yourself $800 a year.
  5. Lweyle
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    Lweyle - June 20, 2014 8:50 am
    If these facts are true, it may be a violation of the First Amendment if teachers are compelled by the government to engage in advocacy of certain programs unrelated to their teaching responsibilities. Check with a competent lawyer.
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